Tuesday, November 27

Writers as Public Speakers

Writing is a very solitary business. Margaret Atwood said, "Writing is alone, but I don't think it's lonely. Ask any writer if they feel lonely when they're writing their book and I think they'll say no." We sit in our little garrets and create worlds and characters all by ourselves. Some writers go out on book tours, but most of us don't. We simply tell our stories and hope people are noticing them, but please, don't notice us.

Tonight, I'm going to go speak to a book club and I gotta confess, although I'm delighted, I'm pretty nervous about it. My church's book club chose my novel, Saving Sarah, as their November read and invited me to come to speak to them about the book and my writing process when they meet together to discuss the book. I'm deeply honored and touched that these good folks chose my book to read and discuss, particularly since I rather suspect that romance is not their usual fare.

I think they chose Saving Sarah because they're intrigued with the idea of having a "real author" in their midst, and because it's not a typical romance--it deals with the aftermath of domestic abuse. For the last couple of months, enough people have stopped me in the narthex or at fellowship after services to tell me they were reading the book to convince me there will be more than two or three people there. Yikes!

I've never spoken to a book club before or to any group that has already read one of my novels and are there to discuss it. My experience talking to readers is limited to book signings and library author events, where I'm hawking books, not talking story or process. The club wants me to tell them about how I write, what inspires me, how Saving Sarah came about... Then they've asked that I stay for the book discussion, which is the part that makes me clutch even more. I want them to feel free to say what they thought of the book and I hope my presence there doesn't keep people from discussing the story openly. Their leader assures me it won't, so I'm putting on my armor and hoping that any arrows shot my way won't be too painful.

I'm also hoping the book club members come with lots of questions because I'm not great at talking about me, but questions I can handle. I'm fairly good at impromptu stuff with strangers on airplanes or in airports who strike up conversations that begin with, "So what do you do?" It's kinda fun to reply, "I'm a romance writer." That answer always starts a lively conversation because most people don't know any authors personally, so maybe that's the way to begin tonight.

"Hi, I'm Nan and I'm a romance writer..."

Hold a good thought for me, won't you? I'll report back next time and in the meantime, enjoy the rest of your week, keep smiling, and get out into the sunshine. It'll do you good, I promise!



  1. Holding the good thought. I've seen you with a crowd--you'll do fine!

  2. Me, too! And what a cool thing you're getting to do - congrats on that!!!

    1. It is cool, Kristi, which is all that's keeping me upright at this point!

  3. Good luck tonight! I can't wait to find out how it goes.

    I think I'd be most nervous about sitting in on the book discussion as well. But I have a feeling you'll do just fine.

    1. I'm pretty nervous about the book discussion--we'll see how that goes. I'm going to assure them that I want them to be honest...I hope they believe me.